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After stooping at a checkpoint just outside of Tingri where even I had to go in with my paperwork (usually the guide can just take it in), we headed down a dirt road for 102 kilometres. This brought us to Rongbuk which is nothing more than two hotels, a monastery, and a fantastic view of Everest. We drove down the road to base camp as it was far too windy and cold to walk. Base camp is much more developed on this side of Everest than in Nepal. Supposedly base camp moves ...
... in different cages that all barked angrily at the mere presence of an unknown person.
Once in Shigatse, we had a nice lunch of Tibetan and Chinese food at a pretty little restaurant and then did some shopping among the street vendors in the area. We bought some prayer flags, Tibetan/Nepalese wool caps for the cold nights ahead and a Chinese door knocker. We then headed into Tashilhunpo Monastery.
This monastery was built ...
... Yellow Hat) sect of Tibetan Buddhism and is the
seat of the Panchen Lama, the second highest ranking Lama in Tibetan Buddhism
after the Dalai Lama. My understanding is that the Chinese are more tolerant of
the Panchen Lama because (unlike the Dalai Lama) they no longer made any claim
to political leadership in Tibet. After the Chinese invasion the Panchen Lama
remained in China under a form of house arrest in Beijing for most of ...
... be circa 1986. Then locals singing Karaoke in a very serious manner, as if they were on American Idol or whatever other horrible "I wanna be a music star" TV show de jour. And just incase we had not been witness to enough odd entertainment, a performance centered around several yaks closed out the evening. Dave, my Yak, along with other Yak statues particularly enjoyed this part of the show.
The next morning we were headed to Sakya to visit a local nunnery as well as one ...
... I had pretty much given up all hope of going to EBC and was resigned to the fact that I would have to spend the day in Shigatse waiting for my tour buddies to come back from EBC :( Not knowing what else we could do we asked Sze Fu what was the plan, at this very point he said with conviction (in Chinese of course) "no problem, I will sort out, we all go to EBC tomorrow". I was really excited to hear those words but at the same time couldn't understand how, since he ...